This was the beginning of a two-year effort of Kony to rebrand himself and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the eyes of the world. Accused of kidnapping at least 30,000 children as porters, soldiers, and sex slaves since he launched his insurgency on behalf of northern Uganda’s Acholi people against the mainly southern Ugandan Army of President Yoweri Museveni in 1988; accused of forcing children to murder their own parents in order to break ties to their home communities; accused of mass murder of perhaps 100,000 people and feeding his army through pillage; Kony had already been labeled a mass murderer by human rights groups and as a terrorist by the US government. But in the summer of 2006, he presented himself as a man of peace.
“That one is not true,” Kony said of the allegations that his troops mutilated children. “That is the propaganda which Museveni made. That thing was happening in Uganda. Museveni, he went into the village, and he cuts the ear of people, and he tells the people that thing was done by the LRA.”
But just a few months later, Kony’s own deputies met up with Mr. Museveni’s delegates for peace talks in Juba. Museveni announced that his government would grant Kony and his top commanders amnesty and shield them from arrest warrants of the International Criminal Court.